We all do a lot of guessing. Everyday, we guess what might be the quickest route to work or the grocery store; We guess who might show up, (and who might not), at our luncheon next week; We guess if our favorite sports team will be victorious tomorrow night. Guesses are an integral part of our lives. What’s your best guess about your financial future?

Since we don’t (and can’t) know exactly how the future will unfold, goals about the future are formed with guesses. Guesses provide direction and the process of re-calibrating our goals based on new guesses arising from new information might be the single most valuable aspect of financial planning.

Do You Set it and Forget It?

The resetting of financial life goals based on what has actually occurred versus what we guessed is why we stress the need for ongoing, not episodic, financial planning. We simply don’t live in a “set it and forget it” world. Future goals and the plans that support these goals need to be adjusted regularly.

Here’s the interesting thing; whenever I mention the word guess to clients they usually say “no, no…no guesses!” The desire for false precision takes over. Why is it that we believe that guesses are bad?

Actually, guesses are a part of everything including the financial markets since stock prices are based upon guesses about the future derived from information available at that particular time. However, don’t confuse guesses with predictions. Guesses are different (and more powerful) than predictions because they usually are related to outcomes. Predictions tend to be focused on what you want to happen, even if it’s unlikely.

Can You Imagine?

Try shifting your thinking about guesses so that you convert the word guess into the word imagine. When you begin to realize that a guess is simply a way of putting into practice something that you imagine, the whole process changes.

What do you imagine in your financial future? What is likely? What do you assume? All of these questions factor into the process of financial planning.

Guesses are powerful because they force us to come face to face with the reality of uncertainty. Goals (and the plans to lead you there) are powered by guesses. What’s your best guess concerning your financial future? Start there. Ready for a real conversation?

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